Thursday, August 19, 2010

Noise pollution

I was going to spend an hour this morning before work playing with a poem revision, but the gardening service our condo association has hired has a crew full of men wielding the loudest instruments I've ever heard: edgers, mowers, and blowers. And they have no pattern of work, perhaps finishing our side of the complex all at once, then moving to the next area. First, the edger comes along, with a noise like a table saw that starts up and powers down every few seconds, making me wish I were deaf. A half hour later comes the mower, who goes over and over a tiny patch of balding grass that in the 15 years I've lived here has never thrived, probably because it's never properly thatched. Just as soon as peace descends for another 15 minutes, the blower guy comes by, and he's clearly marking time, making the most elaborate passes back and forth to cram all downed leaves into the edges next to the buildings, where they will absorb moisture and create dry rot.

This, sadly, is not a poem or a poem revision. It is a gentle screed against this rape of the environment, powered by noisy gasoline engines. Before we worry too much about exhaust from cars despoiling the atmosphere, maybe we should consider the fact that one of these crews works on almost every yard once a week. There is no mitigation of the exhaust or the noise. Maybe we need to rethink this whole way of caring for the landscaped environment.

And now, for the 15 minutes of quiet, I will consider my poem.